"This game redefines the word "speed"."

F-Zero, one of Nintendo's on-and-off franchises, never seeing as much action as Zelda, Mario or even Donkey Kong F-Zero still manages to put one game out for each Nintendo console since the SNES. First F-Zero introduced Mode 7 to the 16-bit era and its sequel F-Zero X brought new elements to the future racing genre that remain around even today. Now, over a decade after F-Zero first brought futuristic racing to the masses,
Nintendo brings out another version of Captain Falcon's races. Developed by Amusement Vision, ironically a part of Sega, Nintendo hopes to breathe some new life into F-Zero by allowing an independent company to work on their franchises. The results are of a mixed one, but ultimately F-Zero remains strong amid the competition of the racing genre market.

Graphics 9.5/10

This is simply incredible, the tracks in here are vibrant, detailed right up to the glass floors with tubes running along them and the scenery just shoots past you at super-sonic speeds. There is so much detail in the tracks that it's a shame you're zooming so fast you don't get a chance to admire it. I really could have done without the FMV footage though; the character models do look ridiculous and look worse in Full Motion Video. But back to the speed: I have never seen speed represented so well in a game before, I literally got disoriented some courses because of the twisting tracks, (in a good way). This kind of interaction with a game really does impact the replay, I give great compliments to the developer.

Sound 5.5/10

I really wished they used the original F-Zero theme, which is THE theme that should be playing when you're running down the track. All we have is some really quiet techno music that really doesn't punctuate the action on the track. The sound effects aren't much better, they just sound too quiet for a futuristic racer such as F-Zero. Some of the tracks however are nice, but ultimately this is where F-Zero fails when it usually succeeds. The voice acting however, is horrendous, you only hear it during your celebration at the end of a Grand Prix race, but it really sounds terrible and the lip-syncing is even worse.

Control 7.5/10

Control depends on the car used, but on the whole the cars move very well. Turning is smooth and you'll only hit rails if you screw up, and due to the blinding speed of some tracks that is very common. Sometimes I found that you couldn’t properly judge a jump until you are in mid-air, and if your reflexes aren't up to par: you're screwed. You do get continues so in the event of falling off the track you can re-start. These continues subtract in number on higher difficulties, leading to a much greater challenge on the tougher courses. Overall I'm impressed with what Amusement Vision did with the controls, they really do enhance the experience of a race.

Gameplay 8.5/10

F-Zero expands upon F-Zero X by one major feature...the Garage mode, which allows you to build your own F-Zero machine from scratch. Of course, you have to race and earn Tickets to buy new parts, but considering how fun the races are that shouldn't be much of a problem. I really did enjoy racing my machine around some of the courses, as many of them are just insane to drive through. Like one where you tear down a tube avoiding pipes that line the middle, that's the kind of adrenaline rush one needs in a game like this. The difficulty level in F-Zero GX has been long debated and remains a factor that will divide hardcore gamers and the casual ones. Personally, I loved the high difficulty in F-Zero GX, it just made every race a challenge and some of the finishes were cutthroat to the end. Though the high difficulty does lead to some problems, such as jumps that require you to position yourself so you will land on the track and not crash into oblivion. When the game starts off, you get three courses: Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald...all of which contain 5 different tracks with 3 difficulty levels...this leads to some great replay as I found a whole new challenge just by going up one difficulty. I really must give compliments again to Amusement Vision and Nintendo for really pushing F-Zero forward in terms of gameplay.

Final Score: 7.9/10
Rounded Score: 8.0/10

Bottom Line

F-Zero GX is a hard game, but ultimately a rewarding one since those that are patient enough to enjoy the rewards will like GX. Casual gamers might be turned off by the difficulty curve and frustrating can build, but ultimately this is a title that rewards you for your efforts. It is a vibrant title none-the-less, I've never seen such a beautiful GameCube title in my life, (well, besides Metroid Prime) and the gameplay manages to keep up. I highly recommend this title to anyone.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/12/03


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